Roommates

Tonight I crawl into your bed with you
and cry myself to convulsions,
and you say nothing as the earthquake
in my chest rocks us silently in the dark.

“Are you okay?” you ask, and no, I’m not,
I’m shaking my head like an aftershock.
I can’t talk. And you try to hold me still
as I try to hold myself together.

I want to tell you
that he’s different from us, you know.
He doesn’t have tectonic plates
beneath the skin, a ring of fire
in his eyes, or a fault line
in his nervous system,
like we do.
He’s different.

He’s not like us,
we’re so close, soul sisters
best friends,
almost lovers.

What does he have that I don’t?
That gives you solid ground at his home?

But I cannot speak,
I cannot breathe through the tremors,
So you stroke my hair until I calm,
And against all odds I survive disaster,
And revived, manage to crawl
back into my own bed,
across the room.

cheRRy

The way new yorkers
say cherry
or terrible
or how I imagine
they would say
merry christmas
if new yorkers said merry christmas.

It’s that slightly aggressive,
slurred double r in the middle:
cheRRy, teRRible, meRRy-fuck off-christmas.

Anyway, it’s one of the things
I like to hear on your tongue.

What do I think of your body?

What do I think of your body?

Your body is blood and muscle and bone.
Your body is sweat and tears and profusions.

Your body is a constantly-running
collection of happenings
performed through a million
chaotically-organized
little processes beginning
from the moment of your conception
and ending at the millisecond
of your death.

You body is phenomenal.

The phenomenon of you
for which I cannot
get enough.

Vase

I’m getting used to being ignored.
I’m getting used to not asking
for more.
I’m getting used to being
an afterthought.
I’m getting used to
not mattering,
anymore.
I’m getting used to it,
the numbing sense of distrust,
the numbing pain of unimportance,
the feeling of being a forgotten
ornament on a shelf you’ve stopped seeing
as you walk through your house.
I’ve gotten used to being
taken for granted,
inanimate,
unnoticed,
and unnoticeable
if moved,
or if broken, or
even if stolen from right beneath your nose.
I am a vase covered with dust
next to some knickknacks,
a souvenir, perhaps,
from a nice vacation from a long,
long, forgotten
paradise.

Sleeping with storms

You are
tongue tsk-tsking like unexpected rainfall
on a metal roof
sighing and grunting, rolling,
arms out in awkward angles
cracking displaced shoulders,
a loud and somewhat unsettling
sound, like lightning
and your low, rumbling snores
first quiet and slow,
are now crescendoing into
an angry fight for breath,
a manifesto
for the right
to live through the night.

And I am
reminded of evening tempests
from humid childhood summers,
tucked into darkness with too-hot covers,
listening to the nightly cacophony
turned lullaby
of anxious heat
returning to its forgiving earth,
the two reunited,
safe
and loved
and loving
and together in the storm.

You are
facing away from me
so I drape an arm around you
and you turn,
your breathing returns to normal
as you pull me close
into you

And we fall
soundly
back to sleep.

Fire at the office

I was not paying attention at work.
I was reading your latest messages,
holding in laughs,
reeling in the goofy girlish grins
that would give me away to my co-workers,
too ready to gossip about my fall in productivity.

And that’s when I smelled the smoke.

I could see the flames erupting like a realization all around me.
I could see you, burning my life away, one fax cover at a time,
one photocopy after another going up in sparks.

Fire at the office, shouldn’t we evacuate?

No. Let it burn the printers to a crisp,
melt the staplers into disfigured puddles,
sizzle and pop the wires and light bulbs,
the fuck have these florescents ever done for me, anyway?
What have they ever done for anyone?

Nothing,
compared to what you’ve done for me,

Nothing,
Compared to the bright little light
of your words on my phone.

Jessica

Jessica: Rich. God beholds.

Once upon a time,
A boy I felt very fondly for
Told me
You’re cute,
But Jessica,
Jessica is beautiful.

And now,
Years later,
The most beautiful
Boy I know
Tells me,
Karen,
You are
The most beautiful
Girl in the world.

The most beautiful girl
in the world.

And I smile quietly and feel,
My heart swelling into an aching
Pleasure,

A strange pride
I have never felt before
In my 22 years as a Karen

Behold me:
For I am.

Growing Pains

As a kid,

I used to chew my straw
into a plastic pulp,
a frayed sprawling flag
to mark my dominion
above juice boxes
or chocolate milks or
various vibrant-colored
hummingbird syrups.

But now, chomping down hard
on my stainless steel, eco-friendly,
dishwasher-safe reusable straw,
a sharp pain buzzes
up my incisors into cheekbone,
the sip of iced americano—black–
bitter, cold, and a little bit acidic.

Difficult to swallow.